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Front Yard Spring Clean-Up

“The nicest thing about the rain is that it always stops.  Eventually.” -A.A. Milne

It’s a rainy day here in small-town Pennsylvania.  We haven’t had the nicest weather the past two or so days, really.  So, I thought today would be the perfect day to share our front yard Spring clean-up!  With all the rain I thought it seemed appropriate, since flowers need water to survive and all!

Stay around until the end because I’ve got a really cool yard DIY that is well worth checking out!


To start, as you can see, our yard needed some serious help!  Last year Ryan and I mapped out a landscaped garden.  We started all of our flowers from seed, bought a cute little dwarf cherry tree, hardscaped a section of the yard just for the tree and then it all went to…well…sh*t.  We transplanted our flowers way too early and then we couldn’t tell the flowers from the weeds and nothing grew except for weeds.  However, we did have some seriously impressive Black-eyed Susans that we started entirely from seed and they took over that section next to the driveway.

Anyway, since this is likely our last summer here, we decided to just make things a bit easier on ourselves and buy pre-grown flowers.  Life is so much easier with greenhouses and flower markets, isn’t it?

After last year’s flop with our garden, we decided that we needed to do things right this year.  So we dug up the old flowers and weeds and we tilled the soil (is that actually what it’s called??).  After doing just that, the garden looked a million times better!  We had this awful raised garden bed that we never got rid of when we did the garden last year so we decided to go ahead and do that this year.  We then added new soil to the dirt (which I think was part of our problem last year) and worked it all in and we added new mulch around the tree (last year we had red mulch as you an see in the photo above and this year I decided I wanted black).

We headed over to our local flower market and picked out some really pretty perennials that will come back next year (assuming we take good care of them this fall to ensure their blooming in the Spring).  Here’s what we picked out for the actual garden area:

-Sweet Williams
-Lilly of the Valley
-Creeping Phlox
-Verbena in “Biloxi Blue”

Then for that section next to the driveway we’ve got White Pampas Grass and a smaller plant that I cannot find the tag for so I apologize for not knowing!  It’s a hearty plant that will flower eventually and it shouldn’t take over the bed there so here’s hoping we don’t have a repeat of our Black-eyed Susans!

We are still planning to put edging stones around the garden to define where the garden ends and the grass begins just to give it a nicer look and to have some definition for when a certain someone cuts the grass (yeah…me).  I also would love to DIY a post for our house numbers.  I’ve had lots of people tell me that it’s hard to see our house numbers so this summer I’m going to fix that.  Stick around for these updates as I’ll post some pictures!

Onto the DIY!

All over Pinterest, I’ve been seeing these really cool, beautiful drainage systems that look like dry creek beds.  Our old situation was just not working and it looked awful.  Let me show you:

Yeah.  Looking quite…bad.

So, I found some instructions on Pinterest (though honestly it’s all fairly self-explanatory) and off to Lowe’s we went!

For our yard we bought 7 bags of pea gravel and 15 bags of river rocks (we ended up returning 2 of each).  You’ll also need a roll of weed barrier or landscaping material (this will allow for water to run through to the ground while preventing weeds from coming through the rocks).

To begin, you’ve got to dig a little trench, we dug ours about a foot wide and about 6 inches deep.

You see that blue tool my hubby is holding?  It’s called like a tamper or something…it’s helpful to use this to make sure that you’ve got an even surface.

When digging your trench, make you you are making a bit of a decline so the water will actually run off and not just sit in the trench.  Our yard already has a bit of a down-slope so this wasn’t a huge deal for us but if your yard doesn’t, dig accordingly and add dirt to the top, near the down-spout to acquire this down-slope effect.

We then added our weed barrier and added gravel to the bottom.  The pea gravel is simply a base.  We also had some slate that had been lying around since last year so we decided to break it up and use it also as a base (hooray for re-using!).

Last but not least, we added on our river rock and cut the additional weed barrier for a clean finish!  We ended up running the hose down the bed to clean off the rocks and also to test this baby out!

I love the way it looks!  It’s so much nicer than what we had!  Ryan wants to add in some different, larger river rocks to the edges to really give it a dry creek bed look, but do whatever you like!

It works perfectly (after having real rain test it out) and I couldn’t be happier!

Our whimpy little tree in our yard has finally started to grow (not in height but it’s sprouting leaves!).  This poor tree has had a rough go of it.  Last year, a few weeks after we had planted it, some rude kids, overnight, cut it in half (are you kidding me?!).  Then, animals were chewing off the branches it was sprouting but I think we may be in the clear now that it’s got some leaves.  Hopefully the height will come before we move and we’ll be able to see the fruits of our labor.  However, off-topic, it’s kind of neat to know that we planted this little guy and it will be here for long after we’ve gone (hopefully).

I love having a garden out front!  I remember growing up, every Mother’s Day my dad would take us to the flower market to pick out our garden flowers for my mom’s garden and he’d plant them every year and take care of them and every year my parent’s garden looked so beautiful.  I’m hoping that some day, my kids will have these same memories with Ryan and I planting our flower garden.

What are some of your favorite flowers to plant in your flower gardens?

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